As part of the nationwide Speakers for Schools scheme, the man who first commissioned Big Brother on British TV, Sir Peter Bazalgette, visited Sheringham High School to talk about the arts and take questions from a packed sixth form common room. More than 130 students crammed in to hear how Sir Peter, soon to take over as non-executive chairman of ITV, started his career in law and went on to become chair of the Arts Council, chair of the English National Opera and president of the Royal Television Society amongst other media organisations. Students of all disciplines fired questions on topics as varied as arts funding, the EU referendum, motorcycle design and Donald Trump.
Sir Peter treated the crowd, which included staff and governors, to frank evaluations of the media s treatment of Islam, women in top jobs in the arts and terrestrial TV s commitment to key sporting events. He evidenced his points with actual government spending figures in the arts as compared to health and education which generated more debate, and invited students to share their own views on popular culture, technology and the power of the youth vote. Ellie Balding, a Year 12 student reading history, sociology and psychology, said: Sir Peter was really cool.
He was frank and interesting. I was very impressed. Once he had completed his address in which he talked about the focus, commitment and risk involved in getting a media idea from concept to fruition, he took questions and left the students with a challenge to be the media ground-breakers of the future.
He then complimented them on having asked the best and most searching questions of any school he had visited. Headteacher, Dr Andrew Richardson, said, This has been a real experience for the students and myself. Thanks to the organisation of Ms Steward, our librarian, we have been fortunate to host one of the foremost media strategists of the age.
He was full of common sense and humanity; two things sometimes not associated with the modern media world.
His words today have further sharpened those students desires to go out and make huge contributions in whatever sphere or work or study they choose. .